Turning a New Leaf….

What do you desire to create in 2019?

I usually get pensive at the end of the year. This year is no exception. I have been pondering my life and want to expand my meditation practice from the cushion into the rest of my day more intentionally….REALLY noticing what is going on inside me and around me. Being aware of who I really am and who you really are, at our innermost core. Accepting all that is and at the same time reaching for better. Letting the moments sink in. Savoring more than chocolate. Relishing sunsets and smiles, moments of grace, strangers that hold doors, deer that show up in my backyard, the first sip of coffee, invitations. Taking it all in, just like a deep breath, and letting it all go as satisfying as the long release of an exhale, not getting attached to any one outcome. Allowing and making space for all the emotions that visit during the day, my internal weather map…trusting that stormy, intense emotions have their purpose, just like the rain on parched grass. It all shows up for a reason. Sometimes it is just to inform us and sometimes it prompts us to question. What is missing in our life? What is the unmet need? Where are we out of alignment? Finding that anchor spot, that grounding cord in the midst of the tornados keeping us from reactivity, from regret. Remembering to breathe, to connect, and especially recalling that we are all ONE. Pausing. Noticing who is excluded from the rooms I am in? What is the part I play? How can I do better? Nothing is broken, but everything is influenced and co-created in every moment. Each moment is a chance for renewal, to reach for improvement, to act and speak from a place of love. My most pressing aspiration for the New Year is to actualize these concepts each and every day that I am blessed with another chance to do so, and when I fail, to love myself anyway. What are you reaching for as you enter 2019? I would love to hear from you.

Here are some wishes for the New Year for myself, for you, for All Beings.

May I pause and notice, accept and savor, love and flourish.

May you pause and notice, accept and savor, love and flourish.

May all beings pause and notice, accept and savor, love and flourish.


Solving Hunger One Garden at a Time

Solving Hunger One Garden at a Time

This blog was started in 2012 to share my thoughts about well-being/wellness. Although I have never tackled the issue of hunger, I think we can all agree that well-being cannot be achieved if hunger or food insecurity is an issue. My daughter Sarah was introduced to the concept of food insecurity when she was in 4th grade by PJ Collins, the founder of 10,000 PB&Js. It made an impact but took some time to sink in as you will read below. As a girl scout cadette, Sarah decided to tackle the problem of food insecurity as part of a Silver award project. She is now 13 years old and has worked on this project for the last 18 months. I have invited Sarah to be my guest blogger this month. The purpose of sharing her story is to educate and inspire others to solve hunger one garden at a time!

woman carrying basket of fruits and vegetables

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Girl Scout Silver Award Project
My name is Sarah Sandor, I live in a small town in Westchester County, New York called Pleasantville. When I was in the 4th grade a man named PJ Collins came in to talk to my class about homelessness in New York City. At that time I really didn’t understand what was going on in the world with hunger and poverty. He had us make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless. We put them in paper bags and he collected them. After that I told my mom what we did that day and she went to our Girl Scout troop and presented the idea to volunteer on Sunday nights. During the past couple of years, our troop would volunteer with 10,000 PB&Js once in a while but I really didn’t understand how this affected us. I enjoyed volunteering anyway. It was fun!


Two years ago, my mom told me about one of my friends who was volunteering in a food garden in my town. I thought this was strange; my mom always bought our vegetables at the local farmers market and a grocery store so I really didn’t know about local gardens. She insisted I volunteer with my friend and that started my work at the Pleasantville Community garden.


When I first met David Juros, he told me about how his son learned all about hunger in Westchester and started a garden in order to donate to Westchester food pantry (Hillside Food Outreach). I started my work for him helping with harvesting and planting.

David Juros came to Girl Scout events and my best friend and I really felt passionate about the work he does. We learned how to seed in the winter to get plants ready for spring.

Over time, I started realizing how much hunger is present in our otherwise affluent community and that it is swept under the rug and not talked about. My partner and I decided to focus our Girl Scout Silver Award project on spreading the word about hunger in our area and volunteering our time to help get fresh food to people who need it. Along the way, I got to connect with people that came to know firsthand about hunger and poverty and how one simple garden can impact the lives of families all over Westchester and how gardens with fresh foods and vegetables are in such need. I loved meeting with fantastic women like Susan Rubin who works at the Mt. Kisco Elementary School where 75% of the school is eligible for free lunch, and Jaime Posa who was my advisor.

I enjoyed working with great people like PJ Collins and David Juros who changed my life for the better. I volunteered at the Pleasantville Community Garden, and we hosted a yoga event for HIllside Food Outreach, and we did many presentations.

Yoga for hunger cropped-33

I learned how people take things for granted every day and how much families struggle and we don’t know about it. One in five people in Westchester experience food insecurity. I am so happy I was able to dedicate 50 hours to this important cause. And I’m so happy that I can pass on the journey I went on to other girls like me. There are many organizations that need volunteers and donations. The links are below. I also want to encourage other school systems and communities to build their own gardens to solve the hunger problem in Westchester. Let’s GROW food!




10,000 PB&Js

New York, NY
1,243 Volunteers

10,000 PB&Js is a volunteer led organization dedicated to offering compassion to homeless men and women in NYC. We meet each week in White Plains & the lower east side to make…

Next Meetup

White Plains Chapter: Food Prep

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018, 5:00 PM
11 Attending

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Creating your day as if it were your last.

Creating your day as if it were your last.

8/3/18--I had surgery three days ago. Thankfully, it was nothing serious. Nevertheless, it had me thinking about my mortality. As a nurse, I have seen a lot of death. I have lost several friends, my father, aunts and uncles and cousins. I know I am not alone.

Death is part of life and yet, we don’t talk about it. It is viewed as morbid to discuss. We go around in denial of our impermanence. Today is a gift and tomorrow is not promised.

We procrastinate because of our lack of awareness of our own mortality. We fail to take the vacation that we have dreamt about. We haven’t called our childhood friend who keeps coming into our mind. One day, we will get around to making those scrapbooks or writing that book, maybe.

I know this, because I am talking about myself. I bought the scrapbooks about 4 years ago and they are still on the shelf. I have not called my childhood friend that I have been meaning to for months. I have not gone on the vacation that I have dreamt about. I AM writing the book; well, the introduction is done.

8 a.m.  This morning, I meditated. Birds were chirping. The grass was wet from rain. Mother Nature is always in flux. So am I. After my meditation, I decided to journal about what my plans would be today if it were my last day. If this were to be my last day,  I doubt I  I could make it to the far-off places I hope to travel to someday. But I could make some phone calls and connect to those I love.  Would I worry about my “things”? Would I worry that I had not reached some lofty career goals? Nah. I wonder if I had served others well. Have I impacted the world in a positive or a negative way? These are the thoughts that cross my mind. What if these questions would motivate each and every day I have left?

I launched some intentions to live today as if it were my one and only. I made a bucket list for the day, written below. I didn’t have time for perfection. Nothing fancy…just my stream of consciousness. This is what flowed out:

24 hour bucket list

What if every day we started out with gratitude for this precious gift of another twenty-four hours and considered the possibility that it may be our last? How would our life change with this new awareness and attitude? I set about my day with these things in mind.

8 p.m.  My day was one of connection. I let people know I love them. I ate slower than usual. I worked. I made several mental notes of appreciation throughout the day. It was not perfect. I was not perfect, but I do not need to be. I strive to be my best self. I was honest. I was affectionate. I was allowing. I prayed. I meditated and I journaled my message to leave behind. My message contains some thoughts, nothing original, just thoughts that have become my truth.  My teachers have been Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsh, Marianne Williamson, Abraham Hicks, Brene Brown, Deepak Chopra among others. You may notice their messages in my love note to the world:

Dear Humans (Children),

  1. Don’t take yourself so seriously! Develop a sense of humor that will sustain you during the challenging times. 
  2. Heal your shadows. Hurt people hurt people, so work on not being a hurt person.
  3. Your most important work is to get aligned with the energy that creates worlds and then let your actions ripple out to everything and everyone from that place of alignment. 
  4. You are a unique expression of that divine energy that runs through everyone. Don’t be afraid to let your light shine. Claim your place in the world. 
  5. Every moment is a chance to start anew. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Forgive me, please.
  6. Lead with compassion. If that is difficult, consider this possibility: everyone (including yourself) is doing the best they can given the circumstances,  conditioning and resources at their disposal. 
  7. Acceptance is the answer to all your problems today. 
  8. Stay where your feet are. This present moment is precious. If staying aware of the present moment seems impossible, practice mindfulness meditation. It will help. I promise. 
  9. The Universe is always conspiring for your benefit. 
  10. There IS enough. 
  11. We are all ONE.
  12. Love is all there is at the end of the day. Choose Love. How do you do that? Appreciate everything and everyone. Appreciation and Love are the same vibration. If you are loving someone, you are appreciating them….not judging them and not fixing them. 

Wishing you a life aligned with your truth and allowing your inner light to shine brightly!

Before I go, I am praying this is really not my last day on this beautiful earth. I have some phone calls to make. I have a book to write. I have some scrapbooks to fill. I have people to see. I have chocolate ice cream to sample. I have many more moments to be enjoyed….Broadway, Cape Cod, Italy, future grandchildren…one can only hope!


Jeanette (MOM)

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Holidays are touchstones in our lives which cause us to reflect and celebrate. As another Mother’s Day rolls around, I am doing my fair share of reflecting and feeling. Motherhood was my biggest aspiration in life. This aspiration was not fulfilled just by the act of giving birth. Childbirth is certainly an awesome miracle. However, my aspiration to become a mother was grounded in the anticipation of the mother-child relationship and how that connection was going to shape my life and give it meaning. Before I became a mother, I thought that connection was going to be easy breezy. Once I became a mother and experienced the exhaustion of being devoted to another person’s wellbeing 24/7, I realized how naive my expectations were. Still, I persevered as best I could with the tools I had. Today, my feelings consist of gratitude for being a mother, sorrow for missed opportunities, self-compassion for falling short at times, and immense love for my children. I am feeling deep compassion for all mothers. I have witnessed a lot of parental struggle and angst recently. As one woman stated this week “We are only as happy as our least happy child”,  I pondered the truth contained in these words. I think there is something universal in this idea and at the same time, I think we can create space for a different possibility, the possibility that we can remain anchored even when our children are being tossed around in the waves of life. It is something I have been intentionally working on. My intention is to stay neutral so that I can be a container for whatever my children show up with. Mind you, I certainly have not arrived at this serene place where I stay completely calm and neutral when my children are struggling, at least not right away. I go to the familiar place of fear and then remember to BREATHE and then I remind myself that the UNIVERSE is always conspiring for our benefit and that includes my children. And then I sigh, the sigh of a mother, the sigh that lets go and doubts and hopes and lets go again, before arriving at a place of acceptance….a place of equanimity….before arriving home, anchored and knowing all is well.

The gift I wish to give all mothers again this year, including myself, is the gift of loving kindness. Loving kindness meditation is one of my favorite practices. It is a meditation where we send warmth and kindness to others and to one’s self. It is a beautiful way of cultivating compassion. It is also the antidote to fear. But, don’t take my word for it. Try if for yourself.  In this meditation, I sit comfortably, close my eyes and place my hand over my heart. I first send loving kindness to myself, because first things first. Next, I bring a particular person or group of people to mind and send them loving kindness. If a child of mine is going through something difficult, I make sure I am sending them these wishes. I do this by repeating 5 phrases silently. Here are the set of phrases I mentally direct to the person(s) I am thinking about:

           May you be well, healthy and strong.

           May you be happy.

           May you experience peace.

           May you feel safe and secure.

           May you feel loved and supported.

 And at the end, I visualize all the loving kindness that I sent out to others as coming back to me and I repeat the 5 phrases for myself, once again. I do this part because I believe that whatever you send out in the world comes back to us. Yes, it is a kind of boomerang, the Law of Attraction in action.

This year for Mother’s Day, my loving kindness meditation is directed to ALL mothers…to mothers who try their best yet never feel good enough, to mothers who lost a child, to mothers who are estranged from a child, to mothers who have a child in prison or rehab, to mothers who have given their child up for adoption, to the mothers who have adopted those children, to mothers who never saw the face of their child, to mothers who are mothers and fathers, to mothers of four-legged children, to mothers who feel isolated, to mothers who wish they could have 5 minutes alone, to mothers who feel they messed up and still don’t know what the right thing would have been, to mothers who scream at their children and then feel guilty, to mothers who spoil their children and then feel guilty, to mothers of addicts, to mothers of children who are mentally ill, to mothers who work outside the home and wish they were home more, to stay-at-home mothers who have lost their identity, to mothers who are no longer with us physically, to mothers that drag their tired bodies out of bed to do the next right thing for their child, day after day after day, for ALL mothers…mothers who are joyous today and mothers who suffer today, and especially to MY mother, who loves me still with every beat of her heart.

There is no curriculum for being a mother. It is personal, between mother and child. Motherhood is sacred and tough and the biggest honor in the world. It is joyful and sorrowful and never carefree. If we allow it, our children can be our best teachers. They mirror what needs to be healed within us. They are not our trophies. They are our blessings, masterpieces to be discovered….together. I have been and continue to be taught well by the four amazing humans that carved out motherhood for me: John, Katie, Kevin and Sarah.

If you are a mother, send yourself some loving kindness today….and know I have already sent some your way.

Happy Mother’s Day!


The Anguish and Joy of Parenting

The Anguish and Joy of Parenting

In any given day,  I experience the highs and lows of being a mother of four children.  The lows come in the form of heartache, worry and fear and the highs are felt in the happiness I feel as I witness my kids experience the joys of life. The highs are also generated from just appreciating them exactly as they are.  I know when I am worrying about them, and I do from time to time, I am not loving them. Worry and Love cannot exist in the same space at the same time. When I am worrying, I am not trusting in their journey. I am not giving them the benefit of the doubt. I want to fix them. But they are not broken and I know that. Deep inside, I know that. My higher self knows that. My gut knows that. However, I am not always seeing the world from this wise, elevated place. When the lens I see my children with is clouded by fear,  my thoughts go to the worst case scenario. I become critical of them and myself. But, here is the good news! Through my mindfulness practice, I can stop myself….stop the runaway train of doom-and-gloom thoughts, stop myself before I open my big fat mouth and say something I don’t want to say, stop myself before I start lecturing, nagging, and projecting. Sometimes, I can stop myself. And sometimes, I am aware I should stop myself, but I don’t. I am a work in progress, after all. And so is every other parent. We are never going to arrive at some high place where we wipe the dust off and say, “We’re done, now THAT was easy.” Hell, no! This parenting thing is damn hard, and amazingly wonderful, and pushes us to become the best selves we can be. And even when we are doing our best, we are going to question ourselves if we could have done better. And that is our cue to be kind to ourselves, to be our own best friend, to give ourselves a freaking break. And that process of leaning into our own anguish with kindness is what builds our resilience to wake up the next morning and drag our tired butt out of bed and do it again. My intention today is to stay neutral about any outcomes for my kids. Hope and fear both exist in the future and are attached to a certain outcome. “I hope my kid gets into a top college” is just the inverse of “I am afraid that my kid won’t get into a top college”. Instead, we can stay where our feet are and empower our kids to do the same. In the present moment, our best selves have the opportunity to emerge. There is such freedom in focusing on the present moment and doing our best work and letting go of any attachment to a certain outcome. Today, I salute all my fellow parents in your quest to be your best self. I wish you less worry and more joy and freedom. And so that I practice what I teach, I wish the same for myself!

Do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy?

Do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy?

(This is the first post in the series of “Things I want to tell my kids before I die”.)

As 2017 comes to an end, I have been doing some reflection. I am taking an inventory of my life: what is good, what no longer serves me, and what I can improve upon. I noticed during this holiday season how earnestly people want to be right when they express their viewpoint. I can relate. I was and at times can still be that person who HAS to be right. We have a country divided by differing viewpoints. The same thing happens in families. We suffer because other people are not agreeing with us. We suffer because others are not complying with our wishes. Some of us even lash out because of these differences. We make harsh judgments. We say things that are unkind. This creates tension and hurt feelings. What I love about New Year’s Day is the blank canvas it represents. What are we going to create in 2018? Do we truly want to be happy or do we want to be right? As we head into this year, here are three intentions I will carry with me to ensure it is a HAPPY one.

  1. CHOOSE KIND: This is indeed my biggest intention for the year. Last week I said good-bye to a beloved cousin who passed away before old age had a chance to set in. He was 63 years old. His sister spoke these words during his eulogy and I intend to keep these words with me always: “Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who make the journey with us. So… be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.” This says it all!
  1. BEING IN A STATE OF ALLOWING: I intend to be in a state of allowing, allowing others to have their own opinions and to have their own journeys. I will allow others to carve their own path. When I disagree with someone, we can agree to disagree. We can accept each other’s differing viewpoints without diminishing either person. Allowing is the opposite of resistance and control. Allowing and accepting others as they are, creates ease and flow. It creates an atmosphere of freedom as opposed to restriction and limitation. I intend to allow myself to be free to be me. I intend to allow you to be free to be you.
  1. STAY IN ALIGNMENT WITH MY BEST SELF: We all have our moments that our best self shows up, moments of charitable acts, and compassion for others, kind words, selfless giving, and true bravery. We all also have our moments that we are not aligned with our best self, moments that we would rather forget. These are moments of judgment, anger, hatred and cowardice. I intend to have more moments where my best self shows up in 2018. How will I do that? By making myself a priority….by eating right, getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, meditating, exercising, and reflecting. Making oneself a priority is paramount to being aligned with our best self. Putting ourselves first should not be confused with self-centeredness. This is especially important for women to acknowledge since most of us are conditioned to place ourselves last on the list of priorities. It was my biggest hindrance for decades. But, no more! Today, I give myself permission to take care of myself first and KNOW that everyone is better off when I do just that.

I am keeping it simple here for 2018…only three intentions to frame my days with. Will I succeed? Sometimes I will. Sometimes I won’t. I am not a saint after all. When I fail, I will forgive myself and set the intention again. We always have an opportunity to begin anew. HAPPY New Year everyone! Wishing you all alignment with your best selves in this upcoming year. The world is counting on it!

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12 Affirmations for the Holidays 2017

12 Affirmations for the Holidays 2017

I am feeling sad tonight as someone I love is not well. Life is oh so precious. Additionally,  I have always struggled during the holidays. Here’s the good news, I know how to give myself an attitude adjustment.  I wrote the following piece 5 years ago to help adjust my attitude for the holiday season. It is still relevant today. I updated it for 2017. Hope you enjoy! And hope it helps some other fellow grinches out there. 

What is it we want during the Holiday Season? Is it a shiny diamond ring, a cashmere sweater or is it Peace on Earth?  There is no right or wrong answer but for many of us, the holidays are a disappointment, a burden, and/or a reminder of our losses. They stress us out! I, for one, have not liked the holidays for most of my life.  I certainly have never embraced them. Where was my resistance? What was I thinking? I was thinking things like “Where am I going to get the money to buy everyone a decent present? How am I EVER going to find the time to get all my shopping, decorating, baking and still work, cook, do laundry, etc. Ugghhh!  I can’t stand those people who bake their cookies, send out the perfect Christmas card, and manage to have their house all decked out; it makes me feel so inadequate. I can’t wait until January!”  With this kind of thinking going on, who could enjoy the holidays? So I asked myself the following question: “Do I want my whole life to go by and look back and realize that I never enjoyed the holidays?” The answer was a resounding “NO!” So, how can I stop resisting this time of year and accept it and just maybe, even enjoy it? I took decisive action and decided to look for the positive aspects of the Holiday Season.  It is certainly within my power to change my conditioned way of looking at the holidays.  Instead of reciting the “12 days of Christmas”,  I am reciting the “12 Affirmations for the Holidays” to help me get in a TRUE holiday spirit. Here goes:

  1. I love being with my family. I am so glad that the holidays “force” us to take time out to be with each other.
  2. I have placed too much importance in the past on the gifts I buy others. I rarely remember the gifts I receive from year to year but always remember how people made me feel. I can be an “uplifter” for others that cross my path. I can make that the gift that I give and I can give that freely.
  3. I love tradition. It makes me happy to trim the tree with the ornaments that bear my children’s names and the year they were born. I love to take my doll size Santa Clauses down from the attic and plug them in. I smile when I pull out my children’s stockings every year and hang them by the fireplace.
  4. I intend to shop locally and do a little each day. I love supporting my local businesses. It makes me feel good.
  5. I can look for people who are not as well off as I am and do something for them this holiday season. Service is the best form of self-forgetting.
  6. I believe my happiness is from within. I concentrate on the inner-knowing that I am worthy without having to have the best gift, the best party, or the best decorations.
  7. I intend to be mindful during this holiday season, taking time to meet old friends, take pictures, sit in front of the fire, and drive slowly at night to take in the beautifully decorated houses in my neighborhood.
  8. I love miracles: Santa’s workshop, enough oil to last 8 nights, a child being born. I will look for miracles every day this season and I KNOW I will find them.
  9. I love having both the Menorah and the Christmas tree being lit in my house. I love variety. I embrace the differences, and know that this kind of embracing brings PEACE on Earth!
  10. The highlight of this Holiday season is sure to be any time spent with my four children. I pray for all mothers and fathers that they may be reunited with their children who are far away, especially our soldiers overseas.
  11. I am alive and well this holiday season. Not everyone made it through 2017 and so far, as of this first night of Hanukkah, I am still walking this earth. What more needs to be said?
  12. And when I am unable to feel the joy of the above 11 items, I will know: “This too shall pass!”

Happy Holidays and Peace on Earth!